ABOUT CEREBRAL PALSY
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder caused by a non-progressive brain injury, or by abnormal development of a child’s brain (before, during or immediately after birth).
The condition usually affects body movement, muscle control, tone and coordination; reflex, balance and posture. CP may affect fine motor skills, gross motor skills or oral motor functioning.
There are three types of CP:
Spastic CP: this form appears in about 75% of cases. Symptoms include stiff, jerky movements, and as the child matures, muscles may become shortened. Learning difficulties may be present. Spastic CP is categorised according to the extent to which the body is affected. If both arms and legs of only one side of a person’s body is affected, it is known as hemiplegia. Diplegia is present when both legs are affected, but arms are only mildly affected, or not affected at all. Quadriplegia means that both legs and arms are affected, to varying degrees.
Dyskinetic CP: also known as Dystonic or Athetoid CP, this form of the condition is present in about 20% of cases, with the most notable symptoms being unintended movements, such as wriggling or writhing. People afflicted with this form have good intelligence and understanding.
Ataxic CP: this is the rarest form of the condition. Symptoms are far less obvious, and may include difficulty with balance, spatial awareness, and shaky or unsteady movement. Around 5% of people present with this form of CP.
Mixed CP: many people experience more than one type of CP.